Coroner: Security guards killed at Hollingsworth shot - FOX Carolina 21

Coroner: Security guards killed at Hollingsworth shot with shotgun

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Deputies outside of the Hollingsworth plant on Laurens Road. (Aug. 29, 2014/FOX Carolina) Deputies outside of the Hollingsworth plant on Laurens Road. (Aug. 29, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Bobby Wayne Wood (L) and Richard Ellison (Source: Wood's family and Bobby Wayne Wood (L) and Richard Ellison (Source: Wood's family and
Deputies outside of the Hollingsworth plant on Laurens Road. (Aug. 29, 2014/FOX Carolina) Deputies outside of the Hollingsworth plant on Laurens Road. (Aug. 29, 2014/FOX Carolina)

Greenville County deputies said two people were found dead at a closed Laurens Road textile plant early Friday.

Lt. Ty Miller with the Greenville County Sheriff's Office said deputies were called to the closed Hollingsworth plant.

Dispatchers said a shooting call came in at 3:36 a.m. at the facility, which is located along the 3300 block of Laurens Road between Millennium Boulevard and Innovation Drive.

Miller said investigators believe the incident happened as guards were making a shift change.

Coroner B. Parks Evans identified the deceased as 53-year-old Richard Thomas Ellison and 65-year-old Bobby "Wayne" Wood. He said they were both found dead, shot in the head with shotguns. Their manner of death was classified as a homicide.

Photos: Deputies on scene of death investigation at plant

Master Deputy Jonathan Smith said the 911 call was made by a woman delivering a newspaper to the site and two victims were found just inside the property line close to the guard house.

Smith said K-9 units and deputies searched the 60-acre property for any evidence connected to the deaths. He said there were multiple buildings on the land along with woods.

And as of Friday, deputies did not have any suspect info to go off of, according to Smith.

On Tuesday, at a joint press conference with Greenville City Police, Sheriff Steve Loftis said that investigators have telling evidence that links the gunman from two shootings from Monday night to the Hollingsworth deaths. 

He said that Evan Bennett's family confronted him about being involved with the Friday morning homicides on Monday night, and that's when the 23 year-old told witnesses, "the war is just beginning."

Loftis said Bennett shot and killed his stepfather with a shotgun and then drove to Greenville's Law Enforcement Center and opened fire. He shot and hit a police officer and then turned the gun on himself. Authorities said Bennett died on the scene. 

Investigators connected Bennett to the Hollingsworth deaths after they said one victim, Wood's sergeant's badge was found under Bennett's mattress in his bedroom. Loftis also said that Bennett had five of Wood's SLED security certification cards in his wallet. 

Loftis called the slayings a "very unfortunate, senseless, thrill killing."

The JD Hollingsworth on Wheels plant closed its doors in 2009. The company closed its doors due to the declining textile industry, leaving 190 workers without jobs.

FOX Carolina reporter Ashley Daley spoke with relatives of the security guard at the scene Friday who said though the plant was closed, security was staffed around the clock.

Both victims worked at the location, according to the coroner's office.

Close friends of Wood said he had plans to retire in November.

"I know that if Mr. Hollingsworth were alive, he would be devastated. He would be out looking himself," said Teresa Hutchings, a friend of Wood.

Wood was a Marine, and his friends believe no matter what happened leading up to his death, he didn't go down without a fight.

"If there was half a chance, he would take it, and fight for himself, but not just for himself, but for the other guard he was with," said Donna Taylor, a friend of Wood.

Hollingsworth Funds, Inc. released the following statement on Friday:

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic events that occurred in the early hours of August 29th, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Bobby W. Wood (employed since 1967) and Richard T. Ellison (employed since 1998) were exemplary, longtime associates of Hollingsworth on Wheels. Words cannot express our sorrow. We are actively working with authorities on the investigation."

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